By Shanna Jordan

Column: Cattle and their odd behaviours

This week’s rancher’s wife column by Shanna Jordan looks at fall and mischievous cows.

If there were a season that could be defined by how many cows and calves get out of their pastures, it would be fall.

Though, I’m not overly confident fall is a season we experienced this year, with the exception of these last few weeks. Perhaps we could rename fall to ‘Your cows are out.’ Since that is, after all, what most ranchers consider that season, anyways.

How many times have ranchers had that call at 8 a.m. which is usually followed by a hat thrown on the head, boots on the feet, and out the door to get them back in? However, this year it was more of a toque thrown on the head, boots on the feet, winter coat, warm gloves, warm the truck, then finally out the door to get them back in.

But why on earth is this time of year so prone to pesky cows and mischievous calves? Well, the fact is that they’re bored. Feed is getting thin out there, and older cows know that this cool weather means that it’s time to go home. They’re getting bored with the pastures they’ve spent the last four months on, and are looking for new surroundings and new grass.

Cattle love change (maybe even more than me!) Whether it’s going from one pasture to another, or going from silage feed to hay, or hay back to silage, no matter the change, to them it is the best thing in the world. They often have exaggerated reactions to the simplest things, simply because it’s different.

I have often thought how cute it would be to take a video of the cows and calves getting a fresh bed of straw as they jump and hop and run around like it’s the best game in the world (even though they just had a fresh bed of straw the day prior). But the unfortunate reality is that those videos are often used by animal rights groups as propaganda to state that because the cattle are so excited about getting fresh straw, that must mean they never get straw at all, which is simply not the case.

Cattle are simple creatures, and just because they express excitement, does not mean they are necessarily experiencing something new.

To properly interpret an animal’s behavior we must have an extraordinary understanding of that animal. I’m often amazed how my ranchers can glance at a herd and pick out one animal that is not feeling well, simply because of the exact height at which that calf is holding its head.

I’ll admit that not even I am confident enough in the behavior of cattle to tell whether or not a calf needs to be treated, or if a cow needs help calving, and I am surrounded by them every day.

In the end we must remember that cattle are creatures all their own, and personifying their behavior can often lead to misunderstandings that can be best avoided by asking the experts – the ranchers.

Just Posted

Rollovers near Ponoka keep crews busy

Wintry road conditions proved a struggle for motorists on the QE2 highway with several incidents

Plane crash-lands near Ponoka

The airplane had its tail ripped off and it ended right side up in a copse of trees east of Ponoka

A hundred years after WWI ends, residents of Bashaw remember

Annual Remembrance Day ceremony focuses on Armistice

Naked man arrested for impaired driving

The man allegedly fled the scene of a collision wearing only a sheet. Plus other Ponoka RCMP briefs

Bashaw’s Stemo ready to make his name on the rodeo circuit

2012 CFR novice bareback champ demonstrates he still has what it takes to shine

Winter weather hits parts of Canada

As some parts of the country brace for cold, parts of B.C. remain warmer than 10 C

Castor, Forestburg, coal workers get $257,644 to transition to low-carbon economy

Two transition centres will serve seven communities in the Battler River Region

Canada’s health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain: UN

The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Saskatchewan college honours memory of Humboldt Broncos coach

Darcy Haugan wore jersey No. 22 when he was a star player with the Briercrest College Clippers

Liberals to act quickly if Saturday midnight deal deadline breached: source

Oh Friday, Canadian Union of Postal Workers said it would not bring the latest offers to a vote of its members

Police probe several allegations of sex assault at Toronto school

Police say they have learned of other incidents of alleged assault and sexual assault

VIDEO: The definition of a kilogram has officially changed

50-plus countries voted to a ground-breaking overhaul to the international system of measurements

Missing-persons list tops 600 in fire-stricken California

Disaster escalates as officials raised the death toll to 63

Most Read